Secrets From The Pandit’ji of Varanasi – 2013

Secrets From The Pandit’ji of Varanasi – 2013

  • The temperature in the waters of the Holy Ganga, on the morning of 25th January 2013, would have roughly been around 5 deg. Celsius. Her waters are cold, really cold. But when you take the dip with Faith, then nothing really matters. There’s a supernatural Force that takes you through the seemingly impossible.
  • Fresh from my Ganga-snaan & seated in front of a Panditji (who had offered us his small room to change our clothes) on the Dashaashwamedh Ghat – a conversation ensued.
  • Ganga is ageless, timeless. Ganga, either when flowing or when contained, does not deteriorate. Her waters never become stale.
  • Scientifically also, it has been proven that the molecular structure & microbial count of Ganga does not change when stored or contained. So in effect, her waters do not spoil.
  • Varanasi derives its name from the tributaries of Ganga – Varuna & Asi. The old, original Kashi is the city that is wedged between  Varuna Ghat on one end & Asi Ghat on the other end.
  • `Banaras’ is an Islamic derivative of the word `Varanasi’. `Kaashi’ is the Vedic name of this city.
  • `Kaash’ is a Sanskrit term that denotes – unlimited light, radiance, luminosity. Hence `Kaashi’ is the STHAAN (PLACE) where there is unlimited light, radiance & luminosity.
  • From the Sanskrit word `Kaash’ comes `Akaash’ – which again means the SPACE where there is unlimited light, radiance & luminosity. Akaash is Sky. Sky represents Eternal Space.
  • Space is the ELEMENT of Shiva. He IS space. Formless. Timeless. Eternal. Unlimited. The Light. The Force.
  • Exactly beneath the original length & breadth of ancient Kaashi, lies another ethereal Kaashi beneath the ground. It is called Pataal-Kaashi (subterranean-Kaashi).
  • Pataal-Kaashi is not visible to the naked eye. It’s on a different dimension. It can be accessed only through Yogic Meditation. Or else, if you’re lucky enough, an evolved Yogi can take you there with his/her powers.
  • When Kaashi nagri (city) began to be tainted with the vagaries of Kali-Yuga; its ancient residents of Sadhus & Yogis, pulled the city downward – onto a different plane, onto a different dimension – to maintain its sanctity & sacredness; and in its place erected a replicate city.
  • Pataal-Kaashi, seemingly, lives up to every description in the Vedas. The Ganga is unbelievably pure, clear, free-flowing & ethereal. The original Kaashi-Vishwanath resides there. And the city is teeming with Yogis & Siddhas & Rishis.
  • What makes present day Varanasi unbelievably Holy is that – this supposed city of Pataal-Kaashi radiates so much Spiritual Energy upward – that the very earth & soil of Varanasi is energized with electro-magnetic waves of the highest order. Waves that are jutting upward from Energies below.
  • Walk barefoot as much as you can on this soil, the Panditji tells me. You’ll absorb the Energy & it is also a mark of respect to the Yogis beneath.
  • Kaashi is known as `Maha Smashaan’ – the Greatest Crematorium. “Kaashi nagri mahaa smashaanam… Kaashi adhipati Shivam Shankaram”. Kaashi is the greatest crematorium & its ruler is Shiv Shankar.
  • In the Hindu Trinity of Brahma, Vishnu, Mahesh – Shiva (Mahesh) is The Destroyer. He is the final destination of all Souls. Hence, He is described as being ever-present in the Crematorium, collecting souls after their last journey on Earth. Also, wherever He resides, by default, becomes a destination where souls wish to arrive.
  • In Hindu religion, Varanasi (Kaashi) is the dream destination where every Hindu wishes to culminate his present incarnation on Earth. In the event they cannot do so, they at least wish for their last mortal cremated remains, to be merged with the waters of Ganga at Kaashi.
  • In this context, the perennial residence of Shiva – Varanasi – is considered to be the Holy Crematorium. Hence the name tag of Maha-Smashaanam is attached to Kaashi & its ruler is Shiv Shankar.
  • After Shiva consumes “Haala-hala” – the poison before the nectar in Samudra Manthan (the Great Churning), He holds the same in His throat; neither can He consume it, nor can He spit it out.
  • This Poison generates unbelievable, unconceivable heat. On a base level, it is the heat of the Poison; on a symbolic level, it is the heat generated from the poisonous, demonic thoughts & intentions within us; the negativities that burn & destroy us eventually.
  • To cool himself, Shiva heads to the mystical Mount Kailash in the Himalayas & submerges Himself in ice glaciers. The Holy Ganga flowing from His matted locks does her bit to cool him constantly.
  • Parvati, his wife & consort, refuses to lead a secluded life in mountain glaciers. She demands a place for both of them. To appease Her, He creates Kaashi nagri & presents it as a wedding gift.
  • Shiva moves with Parvati to Kaashi & Ganga follows. Submerging Himself once again in the cold, soothing waters of Ganga – Shiva asks Parvati to entertain Her guests.
  • Parvati in Her role of the desired hostess – assumes the form of Annapoorna. Kashi Annapoorna – the Goddess of unlimited material & spiritual sustenance.
  • It is a fact vouched by residents of Varanasi that no one on this holy soil sleeps hungry. Man or animal, if you are hungry, you will be fed one way or the other.
  • USTAD BISMILLAH KHAN in an interview once said – that he belonged to a poor, large family with less income than the numbers of mouths to feed. Young Bismillah was often the one whose number was cut from the meals list. Young Bismillah started his training at the age of 6 from his uncle, Ali Baksh Vilayatu – a Shehnai player attached to Varanasi’s Vishwanath temple. His uncle would urge him to practice on the serene Ghats of Ganga.
  • Starting from home on an empty stomach, Young Bismillah Khan would make a run through the narrow `gallis’ (lanes) towards the Ghats. Forced to stop at every 3rd house for a bite of food, by indulgent mothers, Bismillah would reach the Ghats on a full-stomach of Puris, Kachoris, Jalebis, Malai & Dahi. The same routine repeated itself on his run back home in the evening.
  • Ustad Bismillah Khan has gone on record to say – “I never slept on a hungry stomach even for a single day in my entire stay at Banaras. Maa Annapoorna ki aseem kripa rahi hai.” (The blessings of Annapoorna).
  • In true Hindu tradition, Ustad Bismillah Khan has always remained an ardent worshipper of Goddess Saraswati & and has credited his musical journey to Her Blessings.
  • In a similar reverence to the Deity of Banaras City, Ustad Allauddin Khan re-christened his daughter Roshanara Khan, as Annapoorna Devi before he wedded her to Pandit Ravi Shankar.
  • To sum it up as my Mom phrased it – Shiva & Parvati are the perfect hosts of Kaashi. Everyone is welcome. They house everyone. They entertain everyone. They feed everyone. They indulge everyone. And each one leaves with spiritual gifts. The warm feeling of being well hosted makes you want to go back again. And yet again.

My uncanny conversation with the Naga of Allahabad. And my rather unusual personal synchronocity of events. Next.


Crow Facts

Crow Facts

Here is some Hindu mythology & some Wildlife facts about Crows:-

  1. Hindu mythology: Crows can see with only one eye. It is legacy of a curse imposed on Kaakasura – the crow demon.
  2. Wildlife fact: Crows have divided vision. Each eye can see separately, individual of the other eye.
  3. Wildlife fact: Crows’ eyes can see & process 2 separate unrelated pictures, seen simultaneously by R & L eye.
  4. So technically, Crows can see an entire picture with just 1 eye.
  5. Hindu mythology: Crows have significance in Hindu death rituals. It is said that a soul partakes offerings via the body of a Crow.
  6. Wildlife fact: Crows have fantastic memory for recognition of human faces. Also they can remember the emotions associated.
  7. So technically, temporary entry of a soul into the body of a Crow, can allow it to recognize old faces & the emotions associated.
  8. With this recognition, a soul in the body of a Crow, chooses either to partake or not to partake, offerings of a death ritual.
  9. Wildlife fact: A human may not distinguish between a group of Crows but every Crows is memorizing the face of the “weird human” staring at them!
  10. Wildlife fact: Crows can hold grudges for a lifetime; they can remember kindness too. So think twice before you shoo 1 away.
  11. Wildlife fact: Crows are known to communicate grudges to their offspring & their community. So a group of Crows can form “collective grudges”.
  12. Wildlife fact: A group of Crows is called a “Murder”. Name evolved from their ability to collectively dive-bomb, caw & harass a human/animal/bird.
  13. Wildlife fact: Crows not only have a communication language but also regional dialects. Crows constantly communicate their observations to each other.
  14. Hindu mythology: Ancient Hindu sages have documented “Kaaka-Bhasha” – language of Crows. It is used in “Sanket-Shastra” – science of signs. By decoding Crow-language, Sages had an access to continuous information.
  15. Hindu mythology: Crows were associated with war & death.
  16. Wildlife fact: Crows are attracted to shiny objects.
  17. So technically, in olden days, Crows flew straight towards marching armies wielding shiny ammunition. War meant death, hence the association.
  18. Wildlife fact: A crow can determine the shortest, straightest line of flight between 2 points sans obstacles. Origin of the phrase “As the Crow flies”. (Shortest, straightest distance between 2 points.)

Secret Behind Successful Partnerships

The Secret Behind Successful Partnerships

Madhuri Dixit-Nene in one of her recent interviews to Times of India, made a very striking statement. She says: “In Partnerships, 2 people can be as different as chalk & cheese – but they should want the same things in life; that makes for a successful partnership.”

This otherwise simple statement changed my perspective. It changed my perspective to understanding my own partnerships in life & all the other thousand-odd partnerships that we see around us every day.

And I would like the term “partnership” to include a broad spectrum of equations beginning with obvious matrimony & committed partnerships – to parents, siblings, friends, employers- employees, teachers-students, country-citizens etc.

Basically, anything & everything, anywhere & everywhere, where 2 or more individuals come together with a common purpose. That perhaps IS the definition of a partnership – “common purpose”.

Partnerships are not about being similar or different. You can be as similar as 2 peas in a pod, or you can be as different as chalk & cheese.

However different or similar 2 people may be –> if they want the same things in life –> a partnership is made –> a success story.

However different or similar 2 people may be –> if they want different things in life –> a partnership is broken –> an obituary.

This simple philosophy is often missed out by us when we dissect our partnerships, or when we analyze those around us. How many times do we find ourselves saying:-

  1. He is conservative, she is liberated.
  2. He is modern, she is orthodox.
  3. Their family backgrounds are different.
  4. Their educational backgrounds are different.
  5. Their financial status is different.
  6. They belong to different cultures.
  7. His company did not recognize his worth.
  8. This country is not fit for people to live in.

We make & break partnerships very quickly with our analyses. We are quick to write success stories & obituaries.

BUT instead of analyzing INDIVIDUALS, if we analyzed their respective WISH LIST in life, we would come to a more matured, non-judgmental conclusion about ourselves & others.

This perspective takes away the guilt & blame from any one-half of a partnership, when we write obituaries. No one can be labeled right or wrong. It is just 2 halves who have different visions, and somewhere they haven’t been able to find a mid-path. Each believes in his/her own vision. Each has a right to follow their guiding star. This perspective also refuses to crown any one-half of a partnership with laurels, when we script success stories. It is just 2 halves who have a common vision. 2 people with a common vision can actualize that vision in half the time. As simple as that.

  • If 2 people, however similar or different, sit down across a table & open ALL their cards about what they TRULY wish for in life – they can bring about a matching & make things work, or walk away amicably if they can’t. The positive result of this exercise can be: lasting marriages, lifelong friendships, fulfilling careers, excellent governance – because both sides of a partnership have a common purpose.
  • This “common purpose” perhaps explains the success ratio of traditional Indian marriages. Even if there is no meeting point in the original wish list, one partner usually modifies his/her vision to match the other. Result = common purpose.
  • So my advice to all those, whose children are on the threshold of various partnerships – be it commitments, marriage, educational options, career choices, etc. – teach them to look BEYOND similarities & differences; teach them to RECOGNISE their own wish list; teach them to ASK for the wish list of their partners.

Partnerships are like rivers. If the rivers choose to flow separately & define their own individual course – that too is ok. If the rivers choose to come together in a confluence – all differences & similarities will merge into one.

Destiny – Can We Change It?

Destiny – Can We Change It?

In a recent gathering of girlfriends, the trending topic of discussion turned out to be – Can we change destiny?

There were polar opinions. Group North Pole opined that:-

  • Irrespective of what we may do, whatever has to happen, will happen. Que sera sera – whatever will be, will be.
  • Everything in life is pre-destined; be it – childhood experiences, family, education, children, career, marriage.
  • If we have gone somewhere in life, it is because it was “destined” to happen; and if we have stumbled across life’s path & fallen, it is because it was “so destined”.
  • Success & failure are pre-destined. World is full of successful people who never seem to take life seriously; and world is full butt-slogging, hard-working souls who forever remain failures. It is destined.
  • Marriages-are-made-in-heaven. Come what may, we’ll meet & marry the person who has been scripted for us in heaven. And if a marriage breaks, that that is destined too; “destined” time frame for the marriage is over. And if you lose a partner or are unwed, that too is “written” on your forehead too & there’s not much you can do to change it.
  • The philosophy that emerged from this group was: don’t complain, take everything in your stride, your life has already been orchestrated before your birth, we’re simply acting out a script.

Group South Pole opined everything to the contrary:-

  • We’re not puppets.
  • If everything was pre-destined, then there’s no need to slog for your daily sustenance either. If you’re destined to eat, food will come to you.
  • There’s something called free-will. We are masters of our own destiny.
  • If we don’t like something or the situation we are in, we always have the right (& the ability) to either walk away or make changes to the situation.

My take – We have to walk away from the “ME” concept first

In both these opinion, the one thing that predominantly stands out is the “me” concept. Either we believe that “I” have to accept my lot in life as being “pre-destined” & be content. Or “I” have the power “to change my destiny”.

I agree with neither. Neither are we subject to a pre-destined series of life events, nor do we have unlimited power to script our own destinies. My take is somewhat different:-

  • I’m a firm believer in the Hindu philosophy that says “as you sow, so you reap”. Not because I’m a Hindu but because the philosophy of “balancing accounts” appeals to me.
  • I believe that the ultimate aim of human life – or subsequent human lives – is COMPASSION. That is the final destination.
  • So the only way we can relieve ourselves, purge ourselves, of the urge-to-hurt is if we can experience the pain of that hurt; the hurt that we may have so unwittingly imposed on others. Once the pain in coded into the records of our body, mind & spirit; we can never again inflict a similar hurt on anyone. That is our 1st step towards compassion.
  • Pain is not God’s punishment. Punishment is a harsh, revengeful, angry word. God is neither harsh, nor revengeful, nor angry. He is the embodiment of love & compassion. Is that not why we pray to Him in spite of the hardships he has supposedly inflicted?
  • Pain is our best teacher on our road to compassion. We choose it because we choose to learn. We choose it because we regret what we may have done in the past. And by choosing to undergo that very experience, that very pain – we ensure that our soul is never again capable of inflicting any such hurt in our future lives.
  • There is a Greek philosophy that says – from the area of our greatest pain, comes our greatest ability to heal.
  • According to this philosophy, Socrates has written that – your illnesses will make you the greatest doctor; your poverties will make you the greatest Philanthropist; your struggle to educate yourself will make you the greatest Teacher – and so on…
  • Definitely not. That’s neither my take nor my philosophy.
  • Certainly not. That too is neither my take nor my philosophy.


  • Your destiny is pre-written. YOU cannot change it. SOMEONE ELSE can. So in effect, destiny CAN be changed. But if we were to attempt to change our destiny, then it would be motivated either by selfishness or by arrogance. Both of which cannot be the appropriate channels through which destiny can be changed. The channel can only be compassion – and compassion has to flow from another person towards us.
  • Look back into your own past. Our personal destiny pretty much stops at our time of birth. We are born with a certain body; a certain level of intellect; a certain family background; either we’re born orphans or we’re blessed with parents & siblings. These circumstances of our birth; the abundance of assets or the lack of them – define the sum total of our past actions & present destiny. Period. These are our weapons, our “astra-shastras” with which we’ll battle our way ahead in life. EVERYTHING ELSE IS A GIFT, A CONSCIOUS ACT, OF SOMEONE ELSE – that has brought us where we are today.
  • We were fed, clothed, sheltered because our parents chose to do so. We were educated because our parents chose to do so. Should we have been born orphans – a compassionate set of different people would have fed, clothed, sheltered us; would have perhaps adopted us, taken us under their wing; given us an education, given us wings. Where is the ME in all this?
  • In our successful careers, can we really say that that no one out there gave us that much needed “break”? How many times have unsuspecting people come by & gently nudged the course of our lives in a better direction. Where is the ME in all this?
  • How many times did we feel that urge to step out of line & give a slight push to someone who we saw obviously struggling with something? We know they couldn’t have done it on their own.
  • Someone out there could have changed our lives for better or for worse; that was their free-will. We can change someone’s life for better or for worse. That’s our free-will.
  • The examples are endless.
  • The tags can be anything – parental responsibility, sibling affections, friends, teachers, mentors, guides – it can be anything – but there is only ONE philosophy that comes with every/any tag – a deep inherent selfless urge to change another soul’s life for the better – a softening of the heart – “to script for them a better destiny” – COMPASSION.
  • Devoid of COMPASSION, even with any/all of these tags under our belt, we cannot make a damn difference to anyone’s life. There will always be “bad” parents; “bad” siblings; “bad” friends’ “bad” teachers, mentors, guides. People who could have scripted our destinies for the worse.
  • Being born to a tag does not guarantee role achievement; being compassionate is what does the trick.
  • So if we believe we are “masters of our destiny”, we are ignoring the contribution of everyone & everything else. In the long run, it will only make us arrogant – leading us away from the path of humility & compassion. 
  1. CAN DESTINY BE CHANGED? Most certainly yes.
  2. DO I HAVE THE POWER TO CHANGE MY DESTINY? I don’t believe so. Or perhaps to a very limited extent.
  3. DO I HAVE THE POWER TO CHANGE SOMEONE ELSE’S DESTINY? Yes. I have unlimited power to change someone else’s destiny. The catch will always be – do I wish to do so? – and how much do I wish to do so?
  4. SO WHAT HAPPENS TO MY DESTINY? Like attracts like. There will always be people out there who can make a positive difference to your life; who are holding the power to change your destiny.
  5. HOW WILL I FIND THE PEOPLE WHO CAN CHANGE MY DESTINY? You have to make the effort to go out there and mingle with the world. You were not born to be an island. Be visible to those who can effect a change in your life.
  6. CAN DESTINIES BE CHANGED FOR BETTER AND WORSE? Yes. Actions & advice that stem from compassion & selflessness will change your lives for the better. Actions & advice that stem from selfish interests will change your life for the worse. Learn to recognize. There will always be people around you who either tell you “to do” or “not do” something. Learn to recognize who has your interests at heart.

So go out there & make a positive difference to some other soul. Bring out the compassion in you. You have the power. You can do it. You can change someone’s destiny.

And be humble enough to accept that some soul out there can make a positive difference to your life too. They are the ones with compassion. They have the power. They can do it. They can change your destiny.

That’s probably what God intended – we are all wired together – either ethereally in the subconscious or tangibly in the conscious – either way, every thought & action of ours brings a reaction somewhere else – it’s called UNIVERSAL CONSCIOUSNESS – so make the thoughts positive; make the actions positive – bring a positive change to the Universe – it’s called love & compassion – it’s the GOD PARTICLE.

That’s my take. That’s my truth.

Saraswati – The Lost Vedic River & The Triveni Sangam

Saraswati – The Lost Vedic River & The Triveni Sangam

GEOLOGICALLY, satellite imagery charts the underground path of River Saraswati starting from a Himalayan glacier in Uttarakhand, flowing through Uttarakhand, Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan & Gujarat to finally merge into the Arabian Sea. It is also said that the desert-regions of modern day Rajasthan and Gujarat, were once fertile lands through which River Saraswati flowed.

This same river, in its full glory, flowed over surface level, at an enormous width of 15kms, was probably 1500kms long, and had an average depth of 5mts – making it the most majestic river in the Hindu-Kush region, the Mother-of-all-rivers. I

The Saraswati river is said to have flowed independently in the pre-historic region of present day Allahabad – where at a certain point in its flow, it is said to have briefly met & mingled with the waters of Ganga and Yamuna – which still remains as the confluence point known in present day as Triveni Sangam in Allahabad.

EXCEPT, that today, the waters of Saraswati spurt into the Sangam from an underwater source. The Sangam in Allahabad, is perhaps the only point today, in the course of original Saraswati, where is makes a brief upward, visible appearance.

So GEOLOGICALLY what happened to River Saraswati?

The study of Saraswati river has stumped river geologists for many decades now. It is geologically impossible to fathom the complete disappearance of a river that wide, that long, that deep.

But to give a logical answer, geologists say that tectonic shifts in the Earth, dating back to roughly 4000 years ago, caused gradient shifts & massive subterranean cavities in the Earth, causing the waters of Saraswati to seep below the Earth into its deepest fissures.

River dating has shown that the oldest `element’ of Saraswati is roughly 8000 years old & the youngest `element’ is about 2500 years old.

MYTHOLOGICALLY, we have to rewind back to the point where Gods, Demons & Humans interacted somewhat freely with each other, amongst each other’s terrain.

The evolved human race of Sages & Rishis, who were responsible for establishing a tangible link between Gods & Earth; and who had the powers to travel freely between Heaven & Earth – these Sages & Rishis, were forever in a perennial quest to achieve this for all of mankind.

This link between Heaven & Earth could only be established via KNOWLEDGE. Hence they undertook upon themselves the task of determining & creating a channel through which this knowledge could be transported from Heavens to Earth.

The Element FIRE; The Fire of Knowledge; The BADABHAAGNI from Heavens

This channel could only be FIRE. The element Fire had all the properties through which Knowledge could be acquired & dispersed. Fire needs the Air element (symbolic of a link to Heavens). Fire is rooted in mother Earth (symbolic of the knowledge pulled from Air/Heavens & embedded into Earth). Fire is ever-shifting (symbolic that Knowledge can never be static or stagnant). Fire burns (symbolic of burning ignorance). Fire ignites (symbolic of igniting a spark of knowledge in the mind). Fire cannot be contained (symbolic of Knowledge that will die if contained but blaze when released).

Hence FIRE it had to be. So Sages & Rishis of ancient era, requested Lord Vishnu in Heavens above, to send down to mother Earth the Holy Fire of Knowledge from Heavens. Lord Vishnu diverted this request to Lord Brahma, as he is the official holder & keeper of all eternal Knowledge. Brahma agreed to comply. But this Knowledge converted to a physical form created a Fire, the enormity of which would encompass all of Heaven & Earth. This Fire was christened BADABHAAGNI – The Monumental Fire of Destiny.

The Big Question – who would transport this Holy Fire (BADABHAAGNI) to mother Earth? Who would be able to contain it?

Brahma summons His consort Saraswati to help Him in this task. Symbolically also, Saraswati is the Goddess of Knowledge, hence She is the only one whose energies can successfully contain the BADABHAAGNI.

Saraswati agrees. She needs an element that is fluid, fast & can counteract the heat of Fire. Water it is. She then takes the form of a river that extends across Heaven & Earth in its mightiness – receives the Fire of Knowledge from Brahma & deftly falls from the Heavens above to flow onto Earth.

Saraswati begins her evaporation as She falls; holding onto the Fire across the ethers from Heaven to Earth, she has to make it in time to hand over the pot-of-Fire to the waiting Sages & Rishis. Plunging into the mighty Himalayas, she successfully achieves Her mission; hands over the Fire to the waiting Sages & Rishis; and rushes forth madly through the glaciers to cool her burning body. She continues to flow, bend & fall in line with the contours of the Earth till she finally submerges herself into the waters of the Ocean.

Her waters still retain the heat of the fire she has carried. In due course, spanning over thousands of years, the river evaporates from the face of the Earth, but continues its glorious flow beneath the surface. The River Saraswati – as it is imaged today by satellites. It also interesting to note that – geologically, Saraswati is documented as having had “warm waters”.

Brahma-Kapaalam, Gangotri, Yamunotri

When the Holy Rivers descended from Heavens, they needed a container to break their fall – else they risked splitting the Earth into 2 with their force.

Saraswati originates from a Himalayan Glacier in KAPAAL-TIRTH also known as BRAHMA-KAPAALAM (skull-of-Brahma). Mythologically, on Earth, She descends & breaks her fall into skull of Brahma, who awaits her entry on Earth.

Brahma-Kapaalam in Vedic texts is the ALSO place where all souls destined to Heaven converge after death. It is like a waiting-area for the train to Heavens. Only souls who have made the cut to Heaven with their good deeds gain an entry into Brahma-Kapaalam.

Ganga originates from a Himalayan Glacier in GANGOTRI. Mythologically, on Earth, Ganga comes from Heavens, as a boon, to give salvation to the ancestors of SageBhagirath. She descends & breaks her fall, into the matted-hair-locks of Shiva, who awaits her entry on Earth.

Yamuna originates from a Himalayan Glacier in YAMUNOTRI, also known as BANDARPOOCH PEAK. Mythologically, on Earth, at the time of Lord Rama’s exit from his incarnation on Earth, he instructs Hanuman to wait at an appointed peak in Himalayas. He tells Hanuman he will reincarnate on Earth at the onset of Treta Yug, as Shri Krishna. At that time, he will bring down a river from Heavens. That river would need someone to break her fall & that Hanuman should do the needful.

Hanuman dutifully waits near the glacier till the onset of Treta Yug, and the time of Yamuna’s descent. When Yamuna, as ordered by Vishnu, falls into the Himalayas, Hanuman regulates her flow by breaking her fall with his tail. Bandarpooch Peak. (Monkey-Tail Mountain).

It is also documented in Vedic scriptures that Yamuna charts her flow half-heartedly from Himalayas as she is not yet touched by Vishnu. Finally, Baby Krishna fulfills her wish when being transported by Vasudeva across the Yamuna. Yamuna rises in excitement till she reaches a flood; she needs to be touched by Krishna; understanding her agony & excitement, Krishna hangs his baby foot into the waters – tingeing Yamuna with his Energy. It’s from that point onwards that Yamuna takes on a dark (shyam) hue.

The Triveni Sangam – Its Significance

The Holy 3 waters – Saraswati with the Energies of Brahma; Yamuna with the Energies of Vishnu; Ganga with the Energies of Shiva – meet at Triveni Sangam in Prayag.

The Triveni Sangam – a meeting point (Confluence) of the Energies of the Supreme Trio in Hindu Heavens – Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva. It represents the Unification of Body (Brahma the Creator), Mind (Vishnu the Preserver), Spirit (Shiva the Destroyer).

Taking a dip in the waters at Triveni Sangam, brings our own Body, Mind & Spirit into alignment. And taking this holy dip during Kumbh festival cleanses not only OUR past, present, future but ALSO THAT OF OUR ANCESTORS.

Thanks to you – your ancestors’ souls (those who never made the cut to Heaven) are transported – via River Saraswati – to the spot of Brahma-Kapaalam – where they earn the eligibility to take a train to Heaven. And if your ancestors’ are already in Heavens, then they earn an eligibility to take a train to Higher Heavens.

The “High Spirits” Of Dance & Music

The “High Spirits” Of Dance & Music

Those on my blog who are not aware of my extra-curricular activities, 2 such interesting activities on my weekly agenda are a) Kathak classical dance & b) Hindustani classical vocal music. Both these choices are less from interest and more from the desire to make a humble beginning in arts & music for a coming life.

I read somewhere in one of those philosophy books – that what we are challenged in, but what we aspire to do, perhaps with proficiency in future lives – are the areas in which we need to make our beginnings in this life.

One such area of challenge for me has been dance & music. Challenge because fine arts are an inborn gift – either we have it or we don’t; much like so many other talents that cannot be learnt, but just have to flow from inside. Hence the choice to make a humble beginning.

Till date, I haven’t yet learnt to dance or sing with the “heart”. I dance and sing with my “mind”. I’m forever calculating the beats, the number of steps before a turn; or when a line of musical notes should rise or fall or stretch. Till the time I see myself doing that – I know I’m not “quite there” yet.

Because for example when I write, I don’t “think”, I just write; my “fingers” do the writing. It means the speed of my word processing is so fast that I’m not consciously aware that I’m “thinking” about what or how to write. When that speed of processing is achieved in dance or music – then my “feet” will dance, and my “voice” will sing – the “mind” will take a backseat.

My meager class of 4 students in Kathak dance, consists of 4 x 40yr olds desirous of some “physical activity”. Among the 4 is a rather feather-brained, super-competitive old girl with an otherwise heart-of-gold, and who has a fixation for stage performances. For months now, my 26yr old dance teacher has been racqueting off requests from the old girl, to prepare us for a stage performance. Finally worn out, last week she gave in. She will choreograph us for a song, she promised.

In spite of optimistic promises, our young teacher appeared bit worried. From her experience she has seen that older students, not earlier exposed to dance or music, usually develop odd mental & physical symptoms just before a performance. They usually forget beats, they’re not in sync, hand gestures (mudras/hastaks) run faster than normal, ghungroos tend to get untied on stage etc. it’s a common phenomena. A disturbing phenomena more so, because classical dance unlike modern beats, has no scope for improvisation. Also, accompanying musicians like Tabla, Pakhawaj & Harmonium players get edgy when dancers are off-beat; then they refused to cooperate.

In this context our young teacher also mentioned that even seasoned performers (who are icons of Classical dance & Classical music today) get nervous & edgy before lengthy performances; and most of them have deviced their own relaxation & anti-inhibitory techniques before long performances & long practice sessions (riyaaz) – chief of such techniques being a favorite quarter bottle of alcohol snugly tucked away, from which periodic swigs are taken.

Allow me to deviate from my narrative for a brief moment:-

  1. This habit of dancers & musicians intrigued me, and I did a bit of research on these artistic side-effects of alcohol.
  2. In art forms which have repetitive sequences, artistes cannot concentrate for more than 50 minutes as brain’s neuro-receptors are prone to boredom & fatigue where repetition is involved.
  3. Neuro-receptors combat boredom & fatigue better when sequences or routines are in variation & irregular.
  4. Boredom & fatigue disturb concentration levels, and a musician or dancer can easily go off-tune or off-beat.
  5. Alcohol temporarily affects brain function by tilting the delicate balance between inhibitory neuro-transmitters & excitatory neuro-transmitters, in favor of excitatory neuro-transmitters, by subduing the inhibitory neuro-transmitters.
  6. This makes a person under the influence of alcohol more-excited & less-inhibited. This excitement makes us believe we can deliver more than we are actually capable – and in a way, this takes us through the performance sans boredom & fatigue.
  7. Also, alcohol evaporates at a faster rate than human blood; thus it exits our body via skin cells as vapors. Alcohol is basically spirit/ether, so with these vapors around us, we feel “high-spirited” & “ethereal”.

Thus explained, let me come back to the main point of my narrative: the planned stage performance of my class of 4.

My young teacher had this to say to us: “aap lagaake aayenge, toh mein aapki stage performance lagaa sakti hoon… lekin zyaada mat lagaiye, varna mein vilambit-laya mein taal loongi aur aap dhrut-laya mein bhaagenge”.

Translation: if you can “raise your spirits” than I can be spirited enough to choreograph your performance… but don’t “raise your spirits too high”, else I will be tapping in slow beat & you old girls will be running in fast beat.

I like my teacher’s sense of humor. But what I liked better was the excitement that this remark generated. My class of 4, along with my respected young teacher, are planning discreet wine-sessions to determine the right “shot” for our performances. No point collapsing on stage with a Patiala-peg when 2 tablespoons would have sufficed.

Yippee for me. Yippier for the other 3, whose better-haves may frown at the very mention. My better-half…? Well – he’s threatening to withdraw his sponsorship of my artistic pursuits. Hmmm. Where there is a will, there is always a way – albeit a swaggering one.

Scientific & Spiritual Significance Of Holy Waters During Kumbh Mela. Allahabad 2013. After 144 Years. On My Wish List.

Scientific & Spiritual Significance Of Holy Waters During Kumbh Mela. Allahabad 2013. After 144 Years. On My Wish List.

  1. Gods & Demons engaged in a tussle for the proverbial pot of Nectar. The mythological Samudra Manthan or The Great Churning. The churning that separated Good from Bad; the Poison from the Nectar.
  2. For 12 days in the time of Gods & Demons – and for 12 years in human time – this tussle ensued. In this tussle – 4 precious drops of Nectar spilled onto Mother Earth at the Holy spots of Allahabad, Haridwar, Ujjain & Nashik. The drops of Nectar merged into the Holy Waters of Triveni Sangam (confluence of Ganga, Jamuna, Saraswati) at Allahabad; Holy Ganges (Ganga) at Haridwar; River Shipra in Ujjain & River Godavari in Nashik.
  3. The ethereal subtle drops merged into these Holy waters at an auspicious astrological time in Heavens, highlighted by planets Sun, Moon & Jupiter. 
  4. Once in every 12 years, the same astrological configuration falls into place. It is a planetary conjugation in space – a conjugation similar to the placement of planets during the period of The Great Churning (Samudra Manthan).

What Happens to These Holy Waters During Kumbh Mela?

  1. This conjugation triggers the bubbling of all Holy Waters into which drops of Nectar (Amrit) fell.
  2. At Allahabad, the invisible Saraswati that flows beneath the surface of Mother Earth, starts spurting Cosmic Energy. This Energy flows & merges into the point of Confluence where it meets Ganga & Yamuna at the point of Triveni Sangam.
  3. At Haridwar, this Cosmic Energy starts spurting in the Ganga, deep within the waters, at the point of Har-ki-Pauri. At Ujjain, this Energy flow happens in the centre-point of River Shipra that flows adjoining to the Mighty Mahakaaleshwar temple.
  4.  And at Nasik, this Cosmic Energy starts bubbling deep down in the River Godavari, at the point that flows adjoining to the Holy Triyambakeshwar temple.
  5. Water being the fastest and quickest element to be energized, this Cosmic Energy spreads in these Holy Waters to a radius of 45kms. Within this orbit of these 45kms of the invisible bubbling source of the highest Cosmic Energy – lies the secret to human redemption, salvation & immortality. That’s the secret of Kumbh Mela.
  6. Nectar keeps on spurting into these Holy Waters for the entire period/duration of the Kumbh Mela. When we take a dip in these Holy Waters, during that time, the subtle energy points in our human aura and our physical human body, absorb these Cosmic Energies fully. These Energies effect a change in the mind, body & spirit – and thereby they automatically affect our destinies for the better.
  7.  These Energies also create a direct Cosmic Link to Heavens, where you will receive subtle help to absolve you of past misdeeds (sins); cleanse your mind for new, fresh beginnings; and allow you a clean slate to pen a better tomorrow.
  8. The auric absorption of these Energies is so high that, that the subtle link it creates into Heavens above extends straight upto our Ancestors in the Ethers. It’s like a Cosmic Ladder.
  9. And when the Energies of our aura, tinged with the Energies of this Nectar from the Holy Waters of Kumbh Mela, touch our Ancestors – their destinies too are changed, for the better, in the Akashic Records (Cosmic Past Files).
  10. This Cosmic Ladder Link can touch upto the 88th generation of Ancestors in the past – and purge & absolve them too (your ancestors) of their “earthly” sins during their time on Earth. 88 generations into the past is like going back in time; almost to the point of creation. Can you even begin to imagine the blessings that will rain upon you from your Ancestors, from Heavens above?
  11. The Poorna-Kumbh cycle of 12 years corresponds to the approximate 11.1 years of the Sun-Spot cycle. The Sun-Spot cycle is known to enhance the electro-magnetic field of the earth – which in turn effects the environment & the bio system. The electro-magnetic field of the body is similarly enhanced, thereby affecting the nervous, endocrine, circulatory & respiratory system – in a manner that is similar to meditation.

Ardh-Kumbh, Poorna-Kumbh, Maha-Kumbh

  • Ardh-Kumbh (Half-cycle): happens once in every 6 years in rotation at Allahabad, Haridwar, Ujjain, Nasik.
  • Poorna-Kumbh (Full-cycle): happens once in every 12 years in rotation at Allahabad, Haridwar, Ujjain, Nasik.
  • Maha-Kumbh (The Great-cycle): happens once in every 144 years only at Allahabad (Prayag).

Maha-Kumbh 2013 – At Allahabad (Prayag) – After 144 Years

  • In 2013, Maha-Kumbh (the Great-cycle) of 144 years surfaces at Allahabad (Prayag) from January 27th 2013 to 25th February 2013. These are the main dates. The dates are usually extended 15 days prior & later to this period to allow full participation in this festival – but main dates remain Jan 27 to Feb 25 2013.
  • During this period of Kumbh Festival, every date is auspicious; but of special significance are some dates, where the Cosmic Energy spurts highest, like a fountain in full show. These dates are referred to as “Snaan-Tithi” (Bathing-dates).
  • In 2013, at Allahabad Prayag, these special days are: Paush Poornima Jan 27th, Ekadashi Snaan Feb 6th, Mauni Amavasya Feb 10th, Basant Panchami Feb 15th, Rath Saptami Feb 17th, Bheeshma Ekadashi Feb 18th, Magh Poornima Feb 25th.
  • Maha-Kumbh Prayag 2013: Estimated 70 million people.
  • Maha-Kumbh Prayag 2013: Unbelievable confluence of spiritual energies of all of Sadhus; especially the Invisible Siddhas & Nagas who make a rare appearance.
  • Maha-Kumbh Prayag 2013: For Self; for our Ancestors.
  • Maha-Kumbh Prayag 2013: Now or never. Once in 144 years is an average that comes once in 2 generations.
  • Maha-Kumbh Prayag 2013: On my wish list.

India’s Kumbh-Mela – Its Mythological Story

India’s Kumbh-Mela – Its Mythological Story

  1. Gods & Demons. The proverbial pot of Nectar (Amrit) that lies hidden in the unfathomable depths of the Milky Way (Kshirsagar/Ksheersaagar). Gods want it. Demons want it. They have no option but to join hands. Mount Mandarachal agrees to become the churning stick. Vasuki, the snake-king agrees to become the rope that will hold the churning stick. The Milky Way is endless, unfathomable, it is impossible to find a base. Lord Vishnu agrees to help. He incarnates in the form of a Tortoise (Koorma Avatar). Floating in mid-ocean, the Tortoise becomes the base on which Mount Mandarachal is rested. Gods (Devas) hold Vasuki at its tail & Demons (Asuras) hold Vasuki at its head. And begins The Mighty Churning. Samudra Manthan.
  2. Gods & Demons churn the Milky Way for an equivalent of a human millennium. Goodies pop out and are distributed amongst themselves by Gods. Demons wait patiently for Nectar (Amrit) to surface. But before Nectar surfaces Poison. Shiva is called to rescue. He drinks the Poison (Haalahal) & holds it in His throat, not allowing it to drop below. He is the only one who can do it. Poison turns His neck blue (Neelkanth, the blue-throated one).
  3. And surfaces the Nectar (Amrit). Gods & Demons do a double-take. Each want the pot of Nectar to themselves. Lord Vishnu, his job duly over as the Tortoise, re-surfaces & takes the form of a beautiful woman – Mohini. He cunningly takes the pot of Nectar from the fighting hands of Gods & Demons. He advises them to line up on either side & promises to serve them sequentially. They are hypnotized by His beauty. They agree. Gods & Demons line up on either side. Lord Vishnu as Mohini begins the serving from the Gods’ end. As the Gods gain immortality one by one, Demons get restless. It is as if their turn will never come.
  4. 1 Demon senses something amiss. He sneaks His way into the end of the line of Gods. Mohini (Lord Vishnu) serves him Nectar in sequence. Planet Moon notices the switch. He raises a ruckus. Sun-God joins in to further the ruckus. Lord Vishnu realizing His mistake, quicky changes into His original form, signals for His Sudarshan Chakra & aims at the body of the Demon slicing it into 2. But the Nectar has already entered the body & hence death is impossible. Sliced into 2 halves, the Demon acquires the names Rahu & Ketu. Feeling sorry for his dismembered state in which he will have to spend eternity – Lord Vishnu grants him a boon to join the league of the main planets in Astrology, creating the 9 main planets of Destiny or the Nav-grahas.
  5. Rahu & Ketu vow to avenge the Moon & Sun for raising a ruckus. Hence in Astrology, whenever Rahu & Ketu are in a certain degree of vicinity to either Moon or Sun – the planets of Moon & Sun stand debilitated (weakened).
  6. Coming back to the pot of Nectar – rewind to the point where Moon & Sun raise a ruckus & where Lord Vishnu changes back into His original form – the Demons are alerted that they have been fooled. They make a dash for the pot of Nectar.
  7. Gods & Demons once again engage in a tussle for the pot of Nectar. For 12 days in the time of Gods & Demons – and for 12 years in human time – this tussle ensues. In this tussle – 4 precious drops spill onto Mother Earth. At the Holy spots of Allahabad, Haridwar, Ujjain & Nashik – the drops of Nectar merge into the Holy Waters of Triveni Sangam at Allahabad, Ganga at Haridwar, Shipra in Ujjain & Godavari in Nashik. The ethereal subtle drops merge into these Holy waters at an auspicious astrological time, highlighted by planets Sun, Moon & Jupiter.
  8. Once in every 12 years, the same astrological configuration falls into place. It is a planetary conjugation in space – a conjugation similar to the placement of planets during the period of Great Churning (Samudra Manthan).
  9. This conjugation triggers the bubbling of all the Holy Waters into which drops of Nectar (Amrit) fell.
  10. During this brief period, a dip in these Holy Waters ensures a direct cosmic link to Heaven where your Higher Self will help absolve you of past misdeeds (sins); cleanse your mind for new, fresh beginnings; and allow you a clean slate to pen a better tomorrow.
  11. India’s Kumbh Mela.